The Crippled America hashtag started an important conversation. It's not the one Trump intended.
How disability Twitter took back the #CrippledAmerica hashtag.
Like so many words centered on impaired bodies, "cripple" has a negative connotation.
So when presidential candidate Donald Trump managed to both insult a reporter who has a physical disability and release a book titled "Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again," you can bet Disability Twitter responded.
The #CrippledAmerica tweet-in started in a blog post by Nina G., who was, at that time, the world's only stuttering stand-up comedian.
“In protest to Trump's initial remarks of Kovaleski and subsequent comments about how much money he has spent on people with disabilities, I propose we have a TWEET-IN protest (just like a sit-in).
To help educate Trump and the rest of the US about the American Disability experience, tweet #CrippledAmerica (a hash tag he has used to publicize his book released this month).
Share your experiences of life, love, barriers, employment, parenting, sex, art and everything else that represents real Disabled Americans! Let's make our experiences heard! #CrippledAmerica #DisabilityPride #Empowerment"
Folks started tweeting about their American disability experiences immediately after reading Nina's blog.
They "hijacked" Trump's hashtag like she suggested, using it to share their daily lives with the world:
Women w disabilities have a 40% higher chance of intimate partner violence than women without. THAT is #CrippledAmerica#DisabilityPride
— Lindsay Baran (@lindsay_baran) December 2, 2015
And information, services, and shelters are rarely accessible to women with disabilities. #CrippledAmericahttps://t.co/VaKXH9Qr2m
— Ryann (@ryann_patrus) December 3, 2015
While most people hear how lucky they are to have their adorable children, I hear how lucky my kid is to have me. #CrippledAmerica
— Elizabeth Picciuto (@epicciuto) December 2, 2015
#CrippledAmerica is paying extra for vital services like transportation. $75 to reserve a cab to the NYC airport when it's usually $40.
— Lauren Krohn (@lkrohnnutrition) December 2, 2015
Thousands of tweets later, Twitter is full of everyday details about living with a disability.
The tweets cover everything from health care to social norms to job interviews and, of course, Trump.
When most people hang out at the bar, they're drunks. When I do it, I'm an inspiration. #CrippledAmerica
— Brandon R. Friede (@brfriede) December 2, 2015
Went on a job interview several years ago, at a law firm. Turned out they had no entrance without steps. #CrippledAmerica
— Goddessoflubbock (@hotandhumid) December 2, 2015
People sometimes speak to me with the same voice reserved for dogs and small children. I have a master's degree. #CrippledAmerica
— Sara Luterman (@slooterman) December 1, 2015
Some folks also wanted to remind Trump that it's not just that America is crippled — it's that he actually needs "Crippled America," too.
Disability is largest minority in US. U can't win w/o us #CrippledAmerica#stealingyourhashtag
— Lara Schwartz (@Lara_Schwartz) December 2, 2015
To Mr. Trump, I'll say this: Americans with disabilities want you to know that supporting Crippled America is one important route to making America great again.
Please try it out.